Q. I was hoping you could clear something up for me. I have been reading a book that will remain nameless by a christian author who will also remain nameless. The book is about why God seems to ignore people in their time of need. I bought it because I don’t seem to be as close to God as I would like, and am afraid I’m doing something wrong. In a chapter of this book he speaks about prayer and how answered prayer is conditional on the following aspects of ones life: Repented sin, Obedience to Gods commands, Praying in Jesus’ Name, Praying in Faith, Praying according to God’s will, and the state of the nation. He even says that some who pray for salvation don’t receive it. What is your take on this? Would God turn away someone because he did not meet some criteria for prayer?
A. In Matt. 7:7-8, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13, and several other places the Bible says that all who ask receive, all who seek find, and to all who knock the door will be opened. It’s talking about salvation. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. No one is turned away. In Matt. 21:22 Jesus says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” There are numerous other clear references that speak to God’s faithfulness in this regard. Our faith is the only variable. The passages you quoted to me are taken out of context and filled with misinterpretation.
By reading books like this you’re moving further away from God. If you’re not as close to God as you want to be, you have to move toward Him. James 4:8 says “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” And Romans 12:2 says to stop conforming to the ways of the world and be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You do that by presenting your whole self as a living sacrifice to God. He wants a close relationship even more than you do, so stop worrying that you’re going to get it wrong or have left something out. That’s the way of the world. There’s no procedure to follow with God. Simply let go of everything else and fall into His arms. He will take you just as you are, and will never send you away (John 6:37).